Monday, February 20, 2012


Vasu Reddy from Chicago

There is no longer the need to advertise or promote your products, services or self these days.  As long as they are sensational and have 30 minute fame, they get quick attention from the electronic media and the Internet.  Do something outside of the box or engage in behavior that is unusual, you get instant internet audience, and then the large network of television stations that need to fill in 24/7/365 space on the air.  Until the next sensational happening occurs, the electronic media will hammer the incident as latest and greatest news and pound people until they get wary of listening to the same with variations on what happened and commentary on who, what, when, where and why, without any verification of facts, just a lot of speculation.  The story typically changes many times during the coverage and the commentary outweighs the news content.

Until another event happens, the story will stay on and will be clearly highlighted for its duration.  There are so many cameras and reporters around the place, with so many channels trying to fill-up airtime, it is impossible to stay focused on one or the other channel, or one or the other story.  The stories disappear as quickly as they get flashed.

Not too long ago people had to wait for the new paper to be delivered to read about the news and mailman delivered letters and cards.  One generation ago, hot news was flashed on radio and television sometime during the day, and people turned into the airwaves for updates, and eagerly waited for new papers to be delivered.  The news readers made great use of the limited time they had to communicate the events of the day and highlighted only the major happenings.  The news papers were through in their print reporting and commentary.

We no longer verify or validate the news, just post it to the electronic media and if it turns out to be false or inaccurate, just retract it with an apology or simply delete the content online so people who are reading or listening get the glimpses of truth and fiction, and corrections as they unfold.  There is no challenging what people say or post online, as the information is more and more graphic each day.  Just simple disclaimers are attached to absolutely unverified information, or call it breaking news and developing story to cover the urgency of reporting whatever is available to sensationalize the issues, and as they unfold use the unverified information as shield to reporting.

The latest fad has been following social networks and using individual updates as breaking stories.  Facebook, Twitter. And many online exchanges are regularly used for individuals posting updates and pictures of themselves to share with their friends.  For celebrities and wannabies the social media is also an outlet to garner publicity.  Use of social media has become so epidemic, every instance you get some sensational posting from one place or the other and becomes hot topic for a few minutes until the next sensational word or picture comes out.  So much so even the real news magazines are following these sensational stories to keep their readers on their own space.

There are real stories and real news that gets mixed in with sensationalism and often obscures the news verses gossip.  The focus is now on having as many people visit the web link or channel and only way to keep them interested is to have some spice in the coverage.  No forbearance on the viewers that could be children and young ones who will be looking at the unwanted sensationalism.  There are no filters or censor that can control the traffic on the internet, unless you start to invest in extraordinary measures to protect the home networks, and even if you do, kids are smart enough to workaround any such measures to get to where they want to on the net.

While access to information and cost of communications have become minimal, and access to people and information almost at will, it is also quite invasive and overbearing.  We continuously get informed of something or the other and continuously get called irrespective of the hour or place.  So much for telecommunications advances and information technology both this will probably become more and more invasive, until one turns their mobile phone off, shut the computer down and switches off the television.

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